The appeal to anger fallacy or argumentum ad iram occurs when you substitute emotions such as hatred, anger, or rage for evidence in an argument. The other name for this is an appeal to hate, an appeal to hatred, or an appeal to outrage fallacy.
It has two types: one uses anger to support their argument, while the other uses it to refute the argument.
People who commit this fallacy strategically provoke anger in their listeners to influence behavior and thought processes in some way. It is easy to influence people’s decisions by manipulating their emotions, making it an effective way to act in a particular way.
An appeal to anger may be effective as a rhetorical tool, but it is typically viewed as a dishonest strategy for persuading people to agree with you because it focuses on preconceived notions or biases. It is a common trick to replace a logical argument with feelings of anger. But it’s logically flawed because it is not supported by facts.
X is true, according to Person 1.
Person 1 is indignant.
Consequently, X is true.
Appeal to anger is a symbol of intellectual arrogance and suggests partiality, bias, and prejudice regarding one’s position on the subject at hand. Truth does not require emotions to communicate. Only lies and misinformation do, and anger, in particular, takes support from emotions and shouting. If someone resorts to anger, shouting, and personal attacks, it is an indication that they lack logic and evidence. Anger is a tool used in bullying, intimidating, and coercing someone into accepting one’s position.
Examples Of Appeal To Anger Fallacy
Example no 1
“Are you tired of the government ignoring your concerns? Is it fair for the top 1% to have so much when the rest of us have so little? I really urge you to vote for me now!”
Explanation: Playing on the emotions of others to get them to do what you want is a popular approach. The truth is that no evidence or claim was provided tying your vote to the difficulties disappearing. The politician hopes you will discover the connection so that she may claim innocent later on when people try to hold her to a commitment she never made.
Example no 2
“How can you believe that humans evolved from monkeys? Does my grandmother look like a monkey to you?
Explanation: Leaving aside the fact that we did not develop from monkeys. The fact that the arguer is offended is irrelevant to the facts.
Example no 3
“This new policy is completely unjust! The owners are trying to exploit us; we must strike back!”
Explanation: Without providing a real reason for why the new policy is unfair, the speaker here is simply inciting resentment in coworkers by implying that they are being exploited. People incline to become enraged at the prospect of being taken advantage of. Even if they are unsure how or why this is possible. But if someone persuades it and you both work for the same person, you’re more likely to believe them.
Example no 4
“I can’t bear the new dog next door; it barks all day!” It’s too much for me! We need to join a petition to get them to go!”
Explanation: Hearing this from an enraged neighbor might be unnerving, even if they’re not referring to your dog. But the neighbor isn’t referring to any local rules regulating daytime noise. He’s simply expressing his anger in an attempt to persuade others to feel the same way. So that they may band together to gang up on the neighbor with the dog and obtain the solution they want.
Example no 5
“You can be certain, jury members, that this defendant committed this crime. Consider the victim’s family, which that shattered by this act of terror. Imagine yourself in their shoes, fighting for justice for a loved one, and you’ll see that this person is guilty.”
Explanation: There are no facts in this argument to prove anyone’s guilt. It’s simply a ruse to incite indignation in the jury by urging them to imagine themselves in the shoes of the family, so they feel something and believe what the speaker says. If the jury members sense the speaker’s and possibly the victim’s family’s anger. They will want to make a decision that they believe will bring some type of justice—or at the very least, will soothe the anger.
How To Deal With Appeal To Anger Fallacy?
There are a few things you can do to correct someone committing the appeal to anger fallacy. First, you must recognize the faulty logic. Understand that there is no factual evidence for the argument. Inform the speaker what kind of emotions they are trying to provoke and then ask for facts to support their argument. You may also offer a counterargument expressing your disagreement with the speaker, but you will need to provide facts to counteract their weak arguments. The validity of your argument will recognize if you manage to provide adequate evidence and facts.
You should never argue for the sake of winning or losing, but rather to learn more and determine if you are wrong. Developing this attitude will help to eliminate any anger you may have.
Developing intellectual humility is one way to fight off anger. Here are a few things to remember to foster intellectual humility:
- You interpret new concepts using the knowledge you already have (schema) – schema is made from the concepts and principles you pick from your environment, including your socioeconomic status, culture, teachers, parents, and books. These sources are different for everyone, and as a result, so are how everyone perceives the world.
- Your five senses with their own physical limitations provide you with raw data.
- Human reasoning ability is imperfect. It makes thinking mistakes and cognitive biases. There are restrictions to reasoning.
The Ending Note
Appeal to anger encourage a listener to identify with whatever message they’re hearing on a primal level, without taking any intellectual factors, such as rationale, into account. It can be tempting to use this type of argument to persuade people of something. But keep in mind that an appeal to anger will not last long, especially once people begin to think logically through your point of view.
So, if you tempt to use this tactic, make sure you pair it with facts to present your audience with a well-rounded argument.